Challenging? Mesmerized? Fulfilling?
Ran into a Logging buddy at Church, told me one was really tearing it up at his house, late in the PA season. Told him he'd see my truck parked there the following Saturday and I'd see what could be done about that.
Friday it poured rain all day and night, thought sure I saw animals going by in pairs, and kept an eye out for a wooden ship on a hill. Saturday o'dark thirty I've got my back up against a big oak along the edge of a hollow just waiting for the sun to rise and the game to begin.
Got soaked to the bone getting there, underbrush in PA woods is thick late May, this area had been logged off a few years ago and to top it off the temperature was 70 and climbing. But it was a blue bird morning and hope springs eternal for the late season turkey addict with his tag still on the license.
Took a little while for the birds to wake up but shortly after sunrise - Gobble! Dang, I'm not close enough, got to move and do it now. Was that wingbeats? Sugar, yep, Gobble, still too far, but got to let him know there's someone willing nearby.
For the rest of the morning we played the game, he'd give me those dang courtesy gobbles to let me know where he was, but I just couldn't get to where he wanted to come. This farm has real thick underbrush and it was all dripping wet, and so was the hunter. I made more loops and half circles than a cattle driver. I love those hunts where it's a chess match, you move, he moves, you change calls, he answers, repeat. In those days I had a 20 pocket vest with at least one call in each pocket. I used them all, and about wore out the soles of my boots.
Quitting time is noon in PA, this game started before 6AM and by 10:30 Am I was worn out, but we'd been gradually working out of the thick stuff into an area that opens up a lot more. I made a big loop to get out ahead of him for one last set up. Let things settle down, sent out the sweetest come hither yelps I could muster. Gobble, ok, that's enough, Come find me. Clock's ticking, where the heck...... what's the black spot, is it? Could it be? Big white head, full fan, I can't believe it, now if he'll just keep coming on that line he'll be in gun range by that down log, yep, here he comes, when he steps out from behind that log, he's right around 30 yards and as soon as I see the beard (bearded birds only in PA) I'm sending a swarm his direction.
What the heck, where's the beard, well it is wet, maybe it's plastered up against his breast, have to let him get closer, hope he doesn't hear or see my heart beating, cause I can feel my shirt jumping, and I'm going to hyperventilate soon. Got the scope trained on where the beard should be, he's closer, not strutting, but swinging back and forth, I can't believe it, NO BEARD!!!
He fooled around there for several more minutes as I stared in disbelief, doing my best to find a hair.
Finally he gave me that one eyed look. I knew what was coming, locked in with the other eye, PUTT! turned his back to me, as if to say kiss this, and just casually walked away.
They can't be that smart can they?